Memories Movie Review: Intentionally convoluted, unintentionally funny
In films like Memories, it is imperative that the engagement factor is on point, and the film spectacularly fails on that front
Have you ever wondered how it would be if a certain modern-day Martin Scorsese classic was remade in Tamil? Saying which Scorsese film would spoil one of the very few fun things about Vetri’s latest release, Memories, which is an ambitious film. It wants to fit into a lot of genres, right from dark comedy (unintentionally) to a psychological thriller, albeit disappointing us on many counts. The Syam-Praveen directorial sends the characters and the audience on a wild goose chase by having twists that would put even the likes of Abbas-Mustan to shame.
Cast: Vetri, Parvathy Arun, RNR Manohar
Remember veteran comedian Vivekh’s iconic ‘Angaye kondu vechaanga twist-a?’ dialogue? Memories leaves us with this expression more than once. Do these proverbial twists, which are definitely one too many, succeed in pulling the wool over our eyes? Nope. Do the various tracks in the film make you feel exasperated while watching the film, despite its under-2 hour runtime? A resounding yes.
Memories begins with a frantic Venky, wearing a bloodied t-shirt, reaching the doors of a police station. He complains of being chased by someone out to kill him. What follows is a convoluted narration involving a long-lost friend, Vetri escaping through a window and running around like a headless chicken, a stylish guy with a fashion sense that can put him in the centre of a Paris Fashion Walk, Vetri escaping through a window and running around like a headless chicken, a murder spree that ends in the killings of 5 people, Vetri escaping through a window and running around like a headless chicken, and of course, a romantic track that has no one coming even in walking, let alone flying colours. And yeah, Vetri escapes through a window and runs around like a headless chicken because he is a murderer who has forgotten whom he murdered and why he murdered. This plot line and the fact that the film is titled Memories reminded me of Jeethu Joseph, who joins Martin Scorsese in providing an inspiration of sorts for the film.
To give credit where it is due, Vetri is one of the better analysers of the scripts coming his way. As Memories rather painfully unfolds on screen, it is clear what would have made Vetri believe in the film. There are a lot of smart ideas, which definitely had the potential to be something of great value. The central premise of having a single incident narrated in different ways is a fascinating aspect of Memories.
Even the way each of these narratives finds a way to come to the fore is an interesting idea on paper. But it is almost criminal that not a single idea was decently translated onscreen. Right from the outlandish premise of having a talk show about ‘memories’ to the random suspension of disbelief that the makers force us to have doesn’t work in favour of the film.
After the first couple of twists, a sense of exasperation sets in, and it is clear that writers had too much of fun penning these ideas, and there was no one to rein them in. The narrative suffers from a lack of focus, and without that solid hold about the central plot, Memories just drifts to multiple territories without creating any impact.
The randomness of mental health portrayal leaves a lot to be desired too. Also, instead of the audience responding ‘Wow, you are clever’ to the 734th twist in the tale, it feels like the makers are more interested in establishing the ‘Look at me! I’m so clever’ trope and honestly, no one really likes a showoff.
The entire film rests on Vetri’s shoulders, and after a point, the actor feels visibly crumbled under the pressure. There is only so much even the actors can do when the writing doesn’t back them up with sound reasoning. The rest of the actors, barring the late RNR Manohar, deliver amateurish performances that just feel shoddy.
In films like Memories, it is imperative that the engagement factor is on point, and the film spectacularly fails on that front. The semblance of engagement is present through the background score of Gavaskar Avinash, who does a neat job of keeping things ticking. Of course, a lot of loose ends get tied up towards the end, but the arduous and unintentionally funny journey to that point doesn’t justify the means at all. The funny moments, right from certain casting choices, continuity errors in the name badges of cops, the not-so-smart jumps in timelines, and of course, the ease with which Vetri’s character escapes from captivity through an open window are some of the very few aspects that are truly memorable about Memories.
Honestly, it is just sad that our very own Jeethu- Scorsese mashup of a film ends up being a largely forgettable experience despite having a fantastical premise at the core of it all.